TSA screenings fail to spot weapons most of the time, agency says


Homeland Security investigators found that, more than 70 percent of the time, undercover officers were able to get through TSA checkpoints with mock knives, guns and explosives, the House Homeland Security Committee was told Wednesday.

TSA announced last month that all flights arriving to the United States would be subjected to new security screening procedures, with American citizens as well as foreigners possibly facing interviews by airline employees.

Undercover testing at multiple airport checkpoints brought back uncomfortable results, finding that security procedures missed weapons a majority of the time.

While ABC's source did not give details about the findings, they did say that at least eight recommendations had been made to the TSA to improve checkpoint security, but it's unclear where.

"Quite frankly, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we found that briefing disturbing", Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, said at a hearing following the briefing. When we asked if the new failure rate was 80%, a source familiar with the classified report said, "you are in the ballpark".

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While the TSA catches scores of people with weapons - notably former Trump White House adviser Sebastian Gorka past year at Reagan National Airport - the inspector general's report in 2015 said that operatives from the office penetrated airport security in about 95 percent of their attempts. 'We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures and new technologies, ' he added.

The failure rate is actually an improvement from a similar undercover operation undertaken by the DHS in 2015, when operatives found the TSA had a failure rate of 95 percent.

"To invest in the CT technology requires funding above what the TSA now has", said TSA administrator David Pekoske.

"We will invest in our people, continue to improve our processes, and engage new technology to keep transportation systems secure", Pekoske said.

During the hearing, U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers told TSA Administrator David Pekoske that his agency "is broken badly, and it needs your attention".